Cape Town water crisis sees 'unscrupulous traders' increase price of bottled water

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Experts say water in the dams should ideally be used for storage, but Pretoria is now drawing from Lesotho as it continues topping up Guateng's Vaal supply system.

Officials in Cape Town on Monday tried to allay global concerns about the water crisis in the South African city, saying tourists and investors are welcome despite fears that most taps could be turned off in April because of drought.

Nearly 80% of about 700 companies that participated in the survey conducted by the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry in January said they see the water crisis as a threat to their businesses, up from 51% in October, the chamber said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

If Day Zero does arrive on April 12 as predicted - though not mentioned in Monday's weekly update - taps will be cut off, except in the CBD and commercial and industrial zones.

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With a population of about six million, Cape Town is about to run out of water due to the most severe drought that has gripped the city in history.

Cape Town is run by the opposition Democratic Alliance party, which says the national government of the ruling African National Congress party has failed to deliver water to all municipalities as required by law. The goal, he said, was to deal with the "unintended consequences" of the city's blunt warnings to residents.

"She must now work hand in hand with local and municipal authorities to find solutions to the challenges facing drought-stricken communities and commit to defeating Day Zero", Basson said. "Foreigners, he said, might think: "'Well then, I'd rather not come to Cape Town'".

The city wants foreigners to follow the same guidelines that residents are following, including short showers.

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Worldwide tourists make up only 1 percent of Cape Town's population during peak season, but they support more than 300,000 jobs, according to the Wesgro agency.

While tourism officials say there have been cancellations, Ed Roman, Britain's consul general, tweeted earlier this month that there were thousands of British visitors in the area.

However at the same time the central government of Cape Town who has always lost majority seats in the city is refusing to declare it an emergency, which means they will have to provide services and financial aid as it puts the local government in jeopardy and is great anti-campaign before elections.

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